How & Why we Got Started – Part 2

Thanks for checking out part 2 of the motivation behind starting SaasWatch. You can read part 1 here.

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story of our story, part 2

So when we last left off, I was faced with a really challenging situation around how to deal with a software vendor. They claimed we were using their cloud application without appropriate licensing and that at a minimum we needed to establish a formal legal contract with them, at worst we might owe them a substantial amount of money. As an IT procurement manager, dealing with software companies was part of my typical day-to-day activities, but this situation was entirely different and challenging for a number of reasons.

I could empathize with the software company for sure; they had built a useful product and our company saw enough value in the service to use it but software company was not getting paid for it nor was our company formally agreeing to the software company’s terms of use. Asking us to formalize some terms and/or pay a licensing fee for thousands of users taking advantage of their software seemed reasonable.
My empathy didn’t stop there, I also considered how the end users in my company felt about the situation. From their perspective they were simply taking advantage of a free tool that helped them be more productive. They didn’t share the same concerns I had about risking our intellectual property or exposing other IT systems to undue security risks. It was hard to blame our company’s employees for wanting to use the most effective tools to do their jobs.

But how do you align competing interests when you’re in the position I was in?

I didn’t have an easy answer at the time. Immediately my first thoughts went to “processes”, i.e., bigger organizations tend to thrive on having processes built to handle specific situations. But there wasn’t a process for this at all. It was a new challenge that had not yet been contemplated.

As I continued to think through managing this issue, something dawned on me.

The problem wasn’t the software company or the end-users in my organization or even the lack of process we had built around managing cloud software. It was that I as a purchasing manager had no visibility into the cloud, and what users in my organization were doing. I realized that I needed to “know what I didn’t know” in order to be more effective in my job. Had I known about the scale of the cloud deployment I could have taken steps to mitigate the risk weeks or months before I even got that initial phone call.

My thinking had shifted. I couldn’t wait for issues like these to arise, I needed to proactively identify and manage them before they became ordeals. And that thought is at the heart of SaaSWatch. I wanted to build something that would give IT and Procurement managers the insight and visibility into employee behavior so that they could be proactive in setting strategies and making decisions.

More to come, stay tuned.